May 01, 2011

Voters approved Initiative 1053, the Taxpayer Protection Act, last year with a 64% 'yes' vote. It passed in every legislative district outside Seattle (44 of 49 districts overwhelmingly approved it). I-1053's policies were clear and unambiguous. Nonetheless, we've been watching politicians for months find sneaky, underhanded ways to get around I-1053 and our state Constitution.

We had originally planned to simply reinstate the policies in I-1053 with a Son of 1053 initiative next year. WE'RE STILL GOING TO DO THAT.

But we've decided to do an initiative this year that addresses Olympia's sidestepping of I-1053 but also brings a few urgent transportation policy decisions to the attention of the public. Special interest groups and politicians don't want an open debate on this ... they prefer cutting backroom deals and keeping the voters in the dark about what they're doing. Our initiative puts a spotlight on these critical issues and gives the public the chance to weigh in.

Here's the main things this year's "Protect Gas-Taxes and Toll-Revenues Act" I-1125 does:

* As required by voter-approved I-1053, I-1125 mandates that the Legislature, and not unelected bureaucrats at Gregoire's transportation commission, set tolls (in the pending transportation budget, the Legislature violated I-1053 by re-delegating toll-setting authority back to Gregoire's transportation commission -- this completely goes against what the voters said in November);
* As required by the 18th Amendment to our state Constitution, I-1125 requires that transportation taxes be spent for transportation; and
* I-1125 requires that tolls on a project be spent on that project and not be diverted and spent on other things.

Here is Initiative 1125's official ballot title (written by the Attorney General): This measure would prohibit the use of motor vehicle fund revenue and vehicle toll revenue for non-transportation purposes, and require that road and bridge tolls be set by the legislature and be project-specific.

Why is I-1125 necessary? Here are two recent examples:

* Once Again, Dedicated Funds Transferred to General Fund -- "Raiding funds is a typical budget tactic. ... The senate's budget includes $455 million in fund transfers."; and
* Asphalt or Early Learning? -- "the state could provide funding for things like early childhood learning by sacrificing some of the money it currently spends on highway projects.").

As the intent section of I-1125 makes clear: The 18th Amendment to the Washington Constitution protects gas taxes and toll revenues. But politicians and special interest groups have been working for years to sidestep the 18th Amendment's protections and divert those revenues to nontransportation purposes. This measure protects our gas taxes and toll revenues from a legislative raid by giving voters the chance to reaffirm their support for the 18th Amendment to the Washington Constitution.

When it comes to these questions, I-1125 lets the voters decide:

* Should transportation taxes and tolls be spent on transportation or should politicians be able to raid transportation taxes and tolls and spend them on anything they want?
* When it comes to imposing tolls, should it be the elected representatives of the Legislature or unelected bureaucrats at Gregoire's transportation commission who decide?
* Should tolls on a project be spent on that project or should politicians be allowed to divert toll revenues and spend them on anything they want?
* Should politicians have to listen to the will of people and abide by the state Constitution or should they be allowed to ignore it?
* Should gas-tax-funded lanes on state highways continue to be used for highway purposes (as the state Constitution requires) or should politicians be able to ignore the Constitution?
* Should citizens, regardless of income, have access to the bridges and highways our taxes have paid for or should only rich people be able to use them?

Collecting over 300,000 voter signatures by the July 8th deadline will be a huge challenge. But we firmly believe that voters support I-1125's common sense policies and so we're going to work really hard to get this on the ballot for a public vote.

Help us protect I-1053's policies with this year's Initiative 1125 and help us take care of Tim's loan to I-1053. Send us a donation for $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, $2500, $5000 or more (there are no limits on how much can be given). We urge you to strongly consider a monthly contribution. You can make a secure PayPal or VISA or MasterCard contribution by going to our website .

We're very excited about doing I-1125 this year (and "Save the 2/3's" next year).

Here's today's Associated Press story on it: Eyman's new initiative: Make lawmakers set tolls.

Posted by Tim Eyman at May 01, 2011 06:15 PM | Email This
1. off topic

Posted by: zim on May 1, 2011 08:33 PM
2. off topic

Posted by: ivan on May 1, 2011 08:57 PM
3. Tim Eyman, trying to make Washington as messed up as Califonia one paid initiative at a time.

Posted by: Cato on May 2, 2011 08:56 AM
4. Give him a break, Cato. That second mortgage isn't going to pay itself!

Posted by: scottd on May 2, 2011 09:57 AM
5. Any time he pisses you clowns off, you know he's on target.

Tim Eyman: passing the legislation the democrats don't have the guts to pass and that the people support, one bill at a time.

Posted by: Hinton on May 2, 2011 11:14 AM
6. Does Eyman need a new boat? Or is he simply looking for a nice vacation this year?

Posted by: JDB on May 2, 2011 03:20 PM
7. This is maybe the most uncontroversial of his initiatives yet.

What's the complaint? Is it too great a burden to ask that elected officials take a recorded vote on massive taxes/tolling? This isn't any kind of real imposition, logistically. It's an imposition becuase there will be no deniability as our elected members run for re-election. They can't say "board X passed that toll, I woudln't have done that". Very reasonable.

The second part, the idea that a toll will pay for the project it tolls and not continue indefinitely to pay for projects not directly related to the toll's adoption? That's a slam dunk for proper sunsetting of project specific fees. These tolls aren't sales taxes or property taxes they are adopted to pay for specific projects and should disappear when they project has been paid for. Reasonable.

Poviding that the gas tax will have shelter from theft to the general fund and that those taxes will actually fund transpotation projects? Seriously, is there a real argument against this?

So other than hating Eyman, I can't see any reason this isn't going to be a very popular and reasonable proposal.

Posted by: Cecil on May 3, 2011 09:54 AM
8. " I can't see any reason this isn't going to be a very popular and reasonable proposal."

Except to Dimocrat legislators, who look for any excuse to divert highway funds to their favorite lesbian support group.

Posted by: Saltherring on May 3, 2011 11:58 AM
9. Count on a goon patrol to try to demagog this even better effort to put those who spend endlessly in their place.Goons may want to think twice as this gains popularity among taxpayers!!

Posted by: Laurie on May 4, 2011 08:13 AM

Posted by: Politically Incorrect on May 4, 2011 02:56 PM
11. off topic

Posted by: Poitically Incorrect on May 5, 2011 08:47 AM
12. Eyeman haters never argue against his initiatives with ideas, facts, or information--probably because they don't have any--they just personally attack Eyeman. It's pathetic.

Posted by: Molly on May 6, 2011 03:17 PM
13. off topic

Posted by: Politically Incorrect on May 6, 2011 06:25 PM
14. off topic

Posted by: Politically Incorrect on May 7, 2011 08:14 PM
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